State education chief’s son dies in Waterford car crash

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Waterford Township — The son of the state school superintendent died Monday morning in a car crash in Waterford Township, officials said.

Ryan Whiston, 32, was the oldest of Brian and Beth Whiston’s four children, according to a Michigan Education Department statement Monday.

“There is likely no greater pain than the death of one’s child,” said state Board of Education President John C. Austin Monday. “On behalf of the State Board of Education, we are deeply saddened by news of the tragic passing of Brian Whiston’s son, Ryan. We know how close Brian is to his children, and we offer our dearest condolences to Brian and the entire family.

“Our state superintendent has the responsibility to care for all of Michigan’s children, and now, we ask us all to care for him in this time of personal loss and tragedy,” Austin said. “Please keep Brian and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

According to Waterford Township police, Ryan Whiston’s vehicle was one of three involved in a crash at 7:38 a.m. Monday at Highland and Pontiac Lake roads.

An investigation showed that a 20-year-old Waterford man was driving west on Highland in a 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe when he collided with a 2007 Pontiac G6 turning east onto Pontiac Lake from eastbound Highland. Whiston was driving the Pontiac and was not wearing a seat belt, police said.

The Tahoe then struck a 2013 Dodge Journey, driven by a 24-year-old Waterford woman who was turning west onto Highland from westbound Pontiac Lake.

The drivers of the Tahoe and Journey were treated and released at the scene by emergency personnel.

Whiston was pronounced dead at the scene.

Deputy Chief Jeff James said drugs and alcohol are not thought to be a factor in the accident.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Officer Stan Mathewson at (248) 618-6086 or Sergeant Kevin Kazyak at (248) 618-6073. Tipsters who wish to stay anonymous can call the Tip Line at (248) 674-COPS.

Brian Whiston has been state school superintendent since July 1. He was the head of Dearborn’s schools for five years.

Funeral arrangements are pending, according to the state Education Department.

“The state superintendent’s office is thoughtfully asking that people not email or contact Brian at the moment, as he and his family go through this extraordinary time of grief,” school officials wrote.

(313) 222-2311

Associated Press contributed.